September 2021

Friday, 20 August 2021 09:19 Be the first to comment!

"A Time To Give Thanks ...."

Dear Friends,

The autumnal equinox on 22nd September is often considered to mark the changing of the seasons as we move from summer to autumn. It’s historically been the time of year when we give thanks for the harvest and for the work of our farmers across the seasons and throughout all kinds of weather in order to provide the food we need around the year. Over the following Sundays we will be doing just that in our different churches at our Harvest Festivals.

This year in our Harvest we want to expand our sense of thankfulness because, despite the many great difficulties of the past 18 months, there is so much for which to be thankful. Wonderful as the NHS has been and deserving of so much thankfulness, there are so many other people and activities for which we also need to give thanks because of the way in which they/we have contributed to finding our way through this pandemic.

Trying to write down a list of who we should be giving thanks for, and the kinds of things that have been done to sustain life and community, and it quickly gets extremely long and wide-ranging. To pick on any one group would be divisive because if you take a look around you, everyone has done something even if it has only been picking up a phone to chat with someone they’ve been missing. And in their wide variety, all these activities have been just as important for sustaining life as the food our farmers produce year on year.

So, it is right and good that we should try and give thanks for all that has been done, all that we have done as members of our communities to sustain their life in these past challenging 18 months. So, look out for the events happening in your community, come yourself, invite your neighbours and friends, and help us to celebrate all the good that has been going on - alongside the food produced by our farmers, for this too is something of the harvest of our communities during this time.

It is time to give thanks, join us in doing so ...........

God Bless,

Steve.


Dear Friends,

The moment when we acknowledge the presence and reality of God – that he is the creator and we are his beloved creation – we open up a whole new set of questions: If God is God, then what does that mean for me? How do I live in relationship with God? What is God’s will for me? Of course, these are questions not easily answered.

A good number of years ago a friend of mine was wondering whether God might be calling him to ordained ministry, and asked me what I thought? My reply was twofold. Firstly, to pray for the idea to go away – if it was of God, then it wouldn’t go away, whereas if it was of him it would soon pass. Second, he that was too good a Christian to be wasted on ordained ministry – there would be much more important things for him to do for the Kingdom of God.

As it turned out, the idea went away and instead he went to the US to do post-graduate studies. Now he’s a professor of theology in a US university where he teaches hundreds of students each year to think about the God questions in the complexities of the modern world – a much more important role for the Kingdom of God than being a Vicar!

So what might the will of God be for you? for me? A couple of years ago we did a course called ‘Life on the Frontline’. The premise of the course was that everyone is on the frontline of the Kingdom of God, whether at home, down the pub, at work, with the children or grand-children, at the gym, with our friends, or wherever. First and foremost, where we are is where we’re called to be the Body of Christ, his presence in the world. Though it may change as we journey with God, where we are now is where God is calling us to be his people, on the frontline of the Kingdom of God – for now this is his will for us, each one of us.

It is tempting to put the idea of special ministries on a pedestal, vicars and the like, as something to be looked up to. The truth of the matter is that our first calling, above all others, is to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Living that out is always the will of god for us.

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